Masayoshi Son compared himself to Jesus Christ while defending his investment strategy after revealing that SoftBank posted a record annual loss of $ 13 billion on Monday.
The 62-year-old founder and CEO of the Japanese tech conglomerate has pledged that his $ 100 billion Vision Fund would tackle “the greatest challenges and risks facing humanity today”.
While analysts have pressed him on his poor performance so far during an investor call on Monday, Son noted that Jesus had also been misunderstood and criticized, according to three people who were on the call. .
Two of them said that Mr. Son used this analogy to suggest that his reputation would be revalued if the fortunes of his investments improved.
Son, who once quoted Yoda in Star Wars films and urged investors to “listen to the Force,” also hinted that the Beatles were not popular when they first started.
He spoke after being asked if he felt misunderstood by the media and if there was a discrepancy between the audience’s vision of SoftBank and his vision, according to another person who joined the call.
SoftBank declined to comment.
The investor call involved questions about the future of the $ 100 billion Vision Fund, whose value fell $ 18 billion after several of its big bets, including carpoolers Uber and Didi and the hotel company Oyo, have been affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Son compared the crisis to the Great Depression, saying that the Dow Jones has taken 25 years to recover and expected a “similar impact” from the pandemic. “I would say it is an unprecedented crisis that we are going through,” he said in a call for results.
He added that because the performance of the first Vision Fund was “not so great”, SoftBank would continue to use its own money for a second Vision Fund. “We decided not to do Vision Fund 2 marketing for partners for a while [ . . .] If the performance is not very good, then, of course, money for Vision Fund 2 cannot be requested [from] the other people. “
SoftBank also warned on Monday that it could not pay dividends for the coming fiscal year for the first time since listing in 1994, and added that Jack Ma, founder of Chinese internet company Alibaba, would step down as director after 13 years.